Usually, we specialise in small projects, one plate at a time. But in Viet Nam, we have partnered with Australian charity, Breaking the Hunger Cycle, in a project that can truly transform an impoverished community in Viet Nam for generations.

In 2016 Viet Nam experienced the worst drought in 90 years. Two million people were left devastated and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Of these two million, 1.5 million live in the Mekong Delta.

Many families here live on less than $2 a day.

The families of the Mekong Delta depend on ‘flooded rice’ cultivation to survive. This uses lots of water and produces relatively small yields. During drought, successful flooded rice cultivation has been almost impossible.  

OnePlate has partnered with agricultural scientists, Dr Donald Van Cooten and Dr Andrew Borrell, to implement a different type of farming in the Mekong Delta, growing different crops in the empty rice fields.

This will provide food security not just for a day, but for life.  

Drs Van Cooten and Borrell have developed an innovative system where traditional rice beds can be converted into farms for different crops—including legumes, trees and herbs.

These crops have been carefully selected to respond to the Vietnamese climate and soil conditions. Different crops take up less space (as different root lengths mean that multiple layers of crops can be grown in a smaller area); less water (they don’t require flooding); produce several yields across the year and provide more nutrients per liter than rice.

This is a long-term project. Many of the farmers here have been generation-long rice farmers, and the cultural change will be hard.

Rice is strongly bonded to social tastes and has strong demand in Viet Nam. This makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for farmers to produce and sell foods other than rice.

Change will be introduced through a multi-approach strategy, including raising community awareness, forming alliances with community elders and working with the local government to tackle real and perceived barriers.

The first phase of the project is to build 33 sustainable demonstration farms, which is estimated to take three years. Once completed, this has the potential to impact 1.5 million people long-term, completely transforming the prospects of the families living in the Mekong Delta region.

The funds will be raised by OnePlate, and the plan will be implemented by Breaking the Hunger Cycle.

The research has been done and the plans are set. Now we need your help!

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